Oh, we creative types talk such sense

Craig Charles shouting a poem while heading a ball was truly a genuine cultural experience

FOR THOSE of us serving on Whitehall's hottest, hippest think tank, the Creative Industries Taskforce, the announcement by Peter Hewitt, secretary general of the Arts Council, of a series of "key watchwords" has been the best news since Britain's superbly successful staging of the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest.

Access. Redefinition. Repositioning. Sustainability. The guy's talking our language! No wonder the sector which we like to call "Arts UK plc" is now one of the most vibrant sectors of the economy, bringing in literally billions in foreign revenue every year and earning us an international reputation as the most innovative, creative nation in the world.

In a very real sense, the Taskforce has contributed to this upturn. We're not a committee, nor a quango of stuffed shirts and elitists. We're simply a group of creatives gathered together by Chris Smith who meet now and then in an informal, shirt-sleeved, Christian-names sort-of -way to prioritise the arts agenda for the coming millennium.

There's Paul Smith, the fashion designer; Gail Rebuck, the publisher; Chris de Burgh and Kiki Dee representing the music industry; a few playwrights, composers and advertising copywriters; and, representing the thriving column-writing industry, Bill Rees-Mogg and myself.

We too have produced a series of key watchwords to help creatives everywhere understand where we're coming from, arts-wise.

Holistic. We believe it's time to break down the barriers between creatives in this country. Art can be writing a symphony or painting a masterpiece, but it can also be staging a multi-racial production of Swan Lake on rollerskates, or a rap version of Tosca. Who, watching the BBC's recent festschrift for John Motson, could deny that the sight of Craig Charles shouting a poem while bouncing a football on his head was a truly genuine cultural experience?

Democratisation. The idea that so-called "great" art is produced by some sort of tortured individual universalising personal experience simply no longer applies in the sharing society to which we all belong. The Creative Industries Taskforce aims to take art out of the garret and into the mainstream of contemporary life. Just as the Prime Minister can now present future policy on the Des O'Connor Show, or Gordon Brown shares his thoughts on the European Monetary Union with tragic TV lovely Ulrika Jonsson, or Jack Straw announces his latest tough-love initiative in an open letter to The Sun, so the arts will be stepping out of their ivory tower to take their message to the people.

Synergy. Already the process has begun. Think of Pavarotti and his memorable Euro '96 hit "Nessum Dorma". Or Cliff Richard's unforgettable Heathcliff. Who's to say that Sir Richard Eyre, currently thinking the unthinkable on behalf of the committee, won't come up with a solution that combines the talents of two great West End institutions with a merger between the Royal Opera House and Ray Cooney's Theatre of Laughter?

Accessibility. The talent may be there, but is it being marketed properly? The Taskforce took a long, hard look at the poetry sector before deciding that it simply wasn't generating the kind of turnover one would expect from the nation of Shakespeare, Keats and Pam Ayres. And so we initiated our famous "Poets in the Community" scheme. For a month, thanks to us, poets were everywhere. In offices and schools, on street corners, at the checkout tills of supermarkets. Apart from a few unfortunate incidents when members of the public objected to being harangued in incomprehensible blank verse by some evil-smelling, unshaven stranger, the operation was a huge success.

Productivity. No one's expecting art on demand but there's no such thing as a free lunch - we'll be looking for a regular, steady increase in growth and output over the coming fiscal year. As BBC radio now proves every five minutes or so, there's nothing inherently wrong in self-promotion and, now that artists will be expected to work in partnership with corporate sponsors, a certain amount of give-and-take on matters of product placement will be expected. So far as public funding is concerned, we shall be watching output with particular care.

Duty. In this exciting new age of generalised co-operation, creatives will be expected to play their part. Of course, they can be social gadflies, but they should always remember their responsibilities and avoid going too far. Think Sir John Mortimer. Think Sir David Hare. Criticism, but "civilised" criticism, will be the watchword for creatives everywhere.



Dermot O'Leary attends the X Factor Wembley Arena auditions at Wembley on August 1, 2014 in London, England.


Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing